| July 29
July 29 U.S. government investigators said on
Monday they still have few answers as to how an unapproved
genetically altered wheat developed by Monsanto was found this
spring growing in an Oregon farm field, but said no further
contamination has been detected and no biotech wheat appears to
be in commercial supplies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS) said its nearly three-month-old
investigation has found no sign of the Monsanto Co
variety, known as MON71800, in any seed or grain samples tested
by government laboratories. The government also said it has
interviewed nearly 270 farmers who reported no
glyphosate-resistant wheat plants have been found in their
In all, the government said, its investigative work
indicates that the extent of the presence of the genetically
engineered wheat was the single detection of several biotech
wheat plants found in one field of one farm in Oregon. The wheat
plants came from seed genetically altered by Monsanto to make
plants resist Roundup herbicide.
Monsanto had hoped to commercialize a "Roundup Ready wheat,"
but shelved the project nearly a decade ago in the face of stiff
consumer and customer opposition.
The USDA announced on May 29 that the genetically altered
wheat was found on an Oregon farm in April, several years after
Monsanto stopped field testing the wheat, which had never been
approved for commercial use.
The news caused some foreign buyers to curtail purchases of
U.S. western white wheat until they could have assurances that
none of the biotech wheat has contaminated the marketplace.
But importers have been slowly resuming white wheat
shipments, and Japan may resume imports as soon as this week
after adopting stricter measures aimed at detecting genetically
modified strains, industry sources said. South Korea, another
major buyer of U.S. white wheat, resumed buying the variety
earlier this month.
The USDA said on Monday that it was still trying to
determine how MON71800 wheat came to be in the Oregon field and
to determine the extent of its presence. It said its
investigation includes a review of all the authorizations for
Monsanto's field tests of the GMO wheat and the related field